According to Sir Simon Rattle himself, there are few other composers with whom he has a closer relationship than with Haydn – it was “love at first sight” when he encountered these works as a young musician. The public has this relationship to thank for many happy musical moments. Gramophone wrote about Rattle’s recording of Haydn symphonies: “Anyone sceptical of the pairing of the words ‘Berlin Philharmonic’ and ‘Haydn’ is in for a delightful surprise. While not trying to ape the lighter sound of period instruments, this heavyweight orchestra under Rattle’s inspired baton is suddenly spry, light on its feet, alert to the smallest changes of accent and nuance.”
With this approach, Rattle and his orchestra took on Haydn’s oratorio The Seasons in 2009: a work which entrances through its magnificence and its basically sunny disposition. Both conductor and the Philharmoniker have performed this oratorio together before, in March 2003 – a concert which Die Welt called “the highlight so far” of Rattle’s first season as chief conductor in Berlin. Two of the soloists from that performance can also be heard in this concert: soprano Christiane Oelze and baritone Thomas Quasthoff. They will be joined on this occasion by tenor John Mark Ainsley.